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February 2006

Posts from January 2006

Brilliant January Day

I know this is winter in the far north and everyone thinks we are freezing inside igloos here. But the weather has been calm and nice for nearly 2 weeks. Yesterday was spectactular! Absolutely BRILLIANT. No wind, only sunshine. Blue sky turning burnt orange sunset teasing the distant charcoal hills. Gosh, I'm a poet and I'm sure of it! You had to be there. My good friends Derek Chapman and Brian Standerfer were.

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Brian is seriously considering bringing his family from Austin, Texas to our little town in Stromness, Orkney. And it seemed like God was putting on a show everywhere we went. I made a photo album called Brilliant January. And Derek, that picture of the rib roast you requested is there. Isn't that the best meat in the world? Thanks for coming. Stay longer next time!!!

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Gods Great Big Plan

I preached yesterday at Stromness Bapist Church. I wanted to share about the missio dei from the Scriptures without any weird sounding theological terms. Thankfully, the whole service was full of thoughts and quotes and songs that spoke of things like "our Great Big God" and his "great big plan", and the gospel being "life and health and peace" (O for a Thousand Tongues). The children's story - using great computer visuals (thanks to Mark Taylor), was about Rahab who was a great example of God including "others" in his great big plan.

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So it came together quite well. We started in Genesis, and ended up in places like Luke 4 (Jesus ministry) and 2 Cor 5 (reconciliation). The theme was "Whatever" - a word i have found annoying in the past when my kids used it but now find it helpful in explaining the dimensions of God's great big plan. WHATEVER is alienated needs to be reconciled, whatever was broken and cut off needs to come back into God's care. Jesus came to seek and to save whatever was lost. Even the creation groans for its redemption.

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I used the German video Digital Snapshot that I found last year through Jonny's worship tricks (number 100). I asked everybody to look for people like themselves and people who were different, like Rahab - the "others". The word "Whatever" stayed on the screen, showing the extent of God's great plan. We finished with communion which involved edible rice paper with the word "Whatever" painted with red food color - symbolising our participation in the plan of God and the body of Christ.

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The most challenging and by far the most interactive part of the service was asking people to smile and be happy during the last part of the communion. Words from one of our hymns came back - "And leap, ye lame, for joy". God wants us all to be happy and come home.
[update - that video called Digital Snapshot is available here]


Is the Blogosphere Ready for Mark Driscoll?

UPDATE: March 27, 2006. Mark apologizes. Hey Mark - we love you. Don't lose that edge!

ORIGINAL POST: Up early this morning (4:30am) and i am taking a peek at the blogs. Its Saturday and Elizabeth had a sleepover for 5 of her friends last night as part of her 13th birthday party. I have to make some crepes for them soon but first i want to talk about The Driscoll who has now entered the blogosphere.

Mark Driscoll, in typical form, exploded onto the comments of a Leadership Journal's Out Of Ur blog post and has everyone talking. LJ even made a new blog post so people can comment on it. Mark is a dynamite communicator and I am sure he will make his presence felt in the blogosphere - perhaps not so much with his own blog, but during his outbursts on other blogs.

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In Memory of Andrew Lawson Johnston

Scotland lost a great man last week to cancer. Andrew Lawson Johnston, artist, Christian leader, and engraver to the Queen. Andrew was a key person, if not THE key person in the charasmatic New Wine movement in Scotland. His passing will be sorely felt all over the UK. More info here.

AljI had the privilege of meeting Andrew on a few occasions, including:
- once in his stately home over a tea with his lovely wife Sylvia and brother Phil, who is a popular songwriter. Doug Pagitt was with me at the time and we sang some of Phil's choruses at the table.
- 6 years ago, at his church in Alford, where Andrew led a children's communion segment of the church service that was so uplifting and honoring to children that our whole family still remember it.

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The Bible and Common Sense

"Thus, with Common Sense Realism being unofficially sanctioned as the only scientific and valid philosophy, it was not long before biblical studies were soon approached as was any other science. Within the American academy, the Bible came to be viewed as a storehouse of objective facts needing nothing more than to be mined and systematized into an objective, timeless, universal truth."
Adam Van Wart, The Relationship of Common Sense Realism to Dispensationalism's Hermeneutics and A Priori Faith Commitments

180Px-ThomasreidOne of the questions floating around in my mind is this:
Are reflective practitioners from the emerging-missional church doing a BETTER job in contextualization in today's intellectual climate than the Dispensationalists did in their interaction with Thomas Reid's Scottish School of Common Sense and Common Sense Realism, which attempted to "stress the importance of induction, in keeping with its desire to be "scientific," to bring order to "mental philosophy" in the way that Bacon and Newton had brought order to "natural philosophy."" Tim McConnel, The Old Princeton Apologetics: Common Sense or Reformed?

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Emerging-Missional Church Stuff

Back home from my travels now, and I am catching up on the latest Emerging Church banter:

- Contra Corriente have announced this years event to be held in Huesca, Spain, April 29-May 1

- Brad Hightower on the Emerging Pastor - for those emerging churches that still have a pastor type person.

- Open Source Theology pursue an emergent pneumatology, something that i just mentioned in last weeks talk on Missio Dei.

- I bought a used book in a Scottish Bookstore in Thurso called The Emerging Church in Ephesians (1980, A. John Carr) BTW - Great to see the Reformed folk in Scotland involved in ministry to the emerging culture. I stayed with Dave Lynch in Dingwall a few nights ago. He was inspired to start emerging churches by Dr. D.A. Carson who challenged Scottish Christians to take the gospel into "postmodern" areas of their country. Dave is now thinking about an Emergent type gathering in the north. He also promised to send me Carson's tape that was so instrumental in his ministry.

- In the most recent Evangelical Forum of the Virginia Baptist Association, Travis Hilton has a review of Becoming Conversant With The Emerging Church: A review and Reflection (PDF). It seems a little hard edged at points but it gives some more insight into the squabble, including this helpful sentence:
"It would have been helpful if Carson had defined the word “missional,” a word that is sometimes used by emergents and non-emergents alike."

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Elizabeth Turns 13

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We had a Chinese theme last night, since Elizabeth (my daughter) is so interested in all things Chinese. I managed to buy some things from Chinese store in Sheffield last week - calligraphy paper, brushes, lanterns, ink, slippers and cooking utensils for her Chinese dinners that will be happening every Saturday night in our house.
Happy birthday Elizabeth!
We also had a parents night at the school for Elizabeth and they all said she is settling in very well and tries her very best.


WHATEVER and Missio Dei

Update: Last Friday I spoke on Missio Dei at Resource. About 40 students (nice to meet you all!!!) One of the themes was being Found (rather than finding) - thanks to the Kairos crew for a powerful Sigur-Ros video on that subject - dang - the Sigur Ros videos are stunning. Sigur Ros must be my very very favourite Icelandic multimedia band. Much better than . . umm . . other Icelandic multimedia bands.

The other theme that emerged was that of "WHATEVER". Its a word that annoys me and I tell my kids off when they revert to "WHATEVER!!" as a response to my statements. But in Missio Dei, the word WHATEVER" helps us move beyond an overly humanistic understanding of salvation that lacks a biblical cosmology

Our ministry of reconciliation is focused on WHATEVER needs reconciling. Jesus came to seek and to save WHATEVER was lost - its more than just humans that need reconciling. WHATEVER was alienated, WHATEVER was broken must be reconciled. God's character demands it. He is holy, wholly, complete. He brings his creation back under his care. Missions is no longer a program of the church. It flows from the missional heart of God. God's mission is all encompassing. It impacts every area of life - economic, political, environmental, social. The mission of God flows from his attributes, as the Truine God. And a trinitarian missiology is at the heart of the emerging-missional church. It opens up missiology to all branches of the family of God. All streams have something to contribute. The charasmatic/pentecostal stream adds to the missio dei through a missional pneumatology. The Reformed bring the sovereignty of God. Evangelicals bring a strong Christology and soteriology to the table. Piece by piece, as we listen to each other, the fulness of God's mission is being revealed to us and no particular stream of the Christian family seems to have a monopology.

Because it is God' s mission and not ours, and because we are just participating with God in what He is doing, our load is light and bearable. Thats good news.

Here are some good links to follow the conversation about Missio Dei from the past and into the future. Some of these I quoted on Friday:
Anglican Identity and the Missio Dei
Summary and Conclusions from Willingen (2002, Jacques Matthey)
Reflections of "Mission" and "Mission in Unity" (Jacques Matthey)

(Original Post) This Friday night at ReSource (Sheffield) I am talking on Missio Dei and the emerging-missional church. On Sunday night I get to speak at Kairos, a new young adult congregation that is connected to St. Thomas Crookes.

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I had a huge post written on the history of Missio Dei (Latin for "Mission of God") back to the Willingen Conference (1952) and the Trinitarian thinking of Barth and Hartenstein (1930's), as well as the connection between Missio Dei and "Missional Church " (preferred by Americans) and "Mission Shaped Church" (British).
HAD written . . . that is . . it somehow got deleted along with all my links and tedious research . . .. DANGITT!!!! emoticon And I am telling you this now so that it was not a complete waste of time. If i get a chance, I will come back here and post a link to the handouts from my session on Friday.

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